A city and port in Northumberland, and the administrative and commercial centre of north‐east England. Its urban history starts abruptly with a ‘New Castle’ begun by Robert, the Conqueror's son, in 1080, and a borough planted at its gate. Its growing importance was based on coal exports, controlled by the wealthy and powerful Company of Hostmen. Coal‐exporting rose further in the 18th cent., followed by shipbuilding and engineering in the 19th; in the 20th it has become part of a huge conurbation straddling the river Tyne. After a period of difficulty when the traditional industries were in evident decline, the fortunes of the city have revived, and its riverside is rejuvenated by imaginative development of the Quayside.